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Welcome to History Buff, a blog for history lovers everywhere! History Buff brings news stories about archaeology from around the world together on one site. From finds in ancient Egypt to new discoveries in anthropology, History Buff wants to know. And feel free to stop by History Buff's ** Author Interviews** for Q&As with authors of historical fiction. Enjoy!

Michelle Moran
Historical fiction author

As an historical fiction writer I am fascinated by news stories featuring the past as it's unearthed and reimagined and brought to life. I spend a
large quantity of time searching for news in archaeology and history. Once in a great while a new archaeological discovery will act as an inspiration for what I'm currently writing. But most of the time the news stories I read are simply interesting tidbits of history. Unfortunately, I have disallowed comments because I travel so frequently that I can neither monitor nor respond to them. But I would still love to share the history that I find fascinating each day. So welcome! And feel free to visit my website at www.michellemoran.com.

Logo designed by Shaun Venish

Blog designed by Mia Pearlman Design

7.31.2009

Secret life of medieval city found under Cathedral Square

By Tara Dundon

HISTORIC treasures buried under Peterborough's Cathedral Square have revealed a little-known side to the city. Archaeologists at Peterborough Museum say the finds, which have been uncovered since works to install new fountains in the square got under way in April, reflect medieval life in the city centre.

Read the rest here.


Ancient Roman City Rises Again

By Andrew Curry

From the ground, a 100-hectare site just north of Italy's Venice airport looks like nothing more than rolling fields of corn and soybeans. But it's actually home to a buried Roman metropolis called Altinum, considered the precursor of ancient Venice. Now, using sophisticated aerial imagery, researchers have brought this city to life once again.

Read the rest on ScienceNow.


Unlocking Earhart mystery



Henry II's lavish 12th century court brought back to life at Dover Castle

Statement of power: The throne room features an opulent interior, furnished to evoke its original appearance. Costumed re-enactors and audio-visual technology will complete the medieval experience
Statement of power: The throne room features an opulent interior, furnished to evoke its original appearance. Costumed re-enactors and audio-visual technology will complete the medieval experience


The splendour of a 12th century royal court has been recreated in Dover Castle keep, which new research suggests was originally built as a medieval PR exercise by Henry II.
Read the rest on Daily Mail.

7.29.2009

Chaco Royalty Ordered 'Catered' Food at Colorado's Chimney Rock Site 1,000 Years Ago

Elite priests living in a spectacular spiritual outpost built high on a southwestern Colorado mountain ridge a thousand years ago likely had their meals catered by commoners living in the valley below, according to preliminary new research by a University of Colorado at Boulder archaeology team.

Read the rest here.


Human Population Expanded During Late Stone Age

ScienceDaily: Genetic evidence is revealing that human populations began to expand in size in Africa during the Late Stone Age approximately 40,000 years ago.

Read the rest on Science Daily.

7.28.2009

Calling all witches: Cave in need of new hag

Aspiring witches audition for the job Tuesday at Wookey Hole Caves in England.
Aspiring witches audition for the job Tuesday at Wookey Hole Caves in England.

By Reed Langton-Yanowitz

The winner will portray the notorious witch that is said to have haunted the caves in the Dark Ages. The witch lived in the cave with goats until an abbot threw holy water on her, turning her to stone, legend says.

Read the rest on CNN.


When Did Humans Return After Last Ice Age?

ScienceDaily— The Cheddar Gorge in Somerset was one of the first sites to be inhabited by humans when they returned to Britain near the end of the last Ice Age. According to new radio carbon dating by Oxford University researchers, outlined in the latest issue of Quaternary Science Review, humans were living in Gough's Cave 14,700 years ago.

Read the rest on Science Daily.

7.27.2009

Ancient Theater Masks Rediscovered in Pompeii

Rossella Lorenzi, Discovery News
Relic of Ancient Theater
Relic of Ancient Theater | Watch videos from Discovery News

A set of 15 mysterious life-size masks, reminiscent of ancient Roman drama, have been rediscovered in Pompeii after being forgotten for more than two centuries, according to Italian archaeologists who have shown them for the first time at an exhibition in Naples, Italy.

Read the rest on Discovery.


Alexandria - Looking for the queen

An archaeological mission taking place outside Alexandria could uncover the final resting place of Cleopatra and Mark Antony. As Edward Lewis reports, finding the tombs of history’s famous lovers could restore the reputation of ‘first city of the civilised world’

Read the rest here.


Unique ancient Roman hospital excavated in South Moravia

Archeologové v těchto dnech odkrývají v Pasohlávkách na Brněnsku základy někdejšího římského polního lazaretu. Ten byl součástí rozsáhlého opevněného komplexu, který si ve druhém století našeho letopočtu za vlády císaře Marka Aurelia postavila desátá římská legie u Jantarové stezky na kopci Hradisko. Lazaret v Pasohlávkách je největším zařízením svého druhu, které se z tohoto období dochovalo v oblasti na sever od Dunaje.

Pasohlavky - Czech archaeologists are excavating the foundations of an ancient Roman lazaretto (hospital) in Pasohlavky, which is the largest facility of its kind from this period preserved north of the Danube River, archaeologist Balazs Komoroczy told CTK today.

Read the rest here.

7.25.2009

Council considers using 19th century catacombs to store bodies of swine flu victims

Exeter catacombs
Catacombs: Exeter City Council could use these 19th century underground burial chambers to store the bodies of swine flu victims if the outbreak worsens

By Jenny Hope and Graham Smith

A council is considering using 19th century underground burial chambers to store the bodies of swine flu victims if the outbreak worsens.

Read the rest on the DailyMail.

7.24.2009

Finding King Herod's Tomb

By Barbara Kreiger

Shielding my eyes from the glare of the morning sun, I look toward the horizon and the small mountain that is my destination: Herodium, site of the fortified palace of King Herod the Great.

Read the rest in Smithsonian Magazine.


Archaeologists Discover Nymph Sanctuary in Central Bulgaria

A sanctuary where the nymph cult used to be celebrated in Antiquity was recently found by archaeologists in the vicinity of the Nicopolis ad Istrum ancient site, located near the town of Veliko Tarnovo in central Bulgaria.

Read the rest here.


Recently Destroyed Archaeological Site in Khuzestan Province, Believed to be the Lost Partho-Sasanian City of Azem

LONDON, (CAIS) -- Following the recent destruction of part of an archaeological site in Khuzestan province by state controlled Iran’s National Oil Company’s subcontractors, an Iranian archaeologist claimed the site is the location of the lost Partho-Sasanian city of Azem.

Read the rest here.


HISTORY'S HORRORS IN THE PRESENT: North Korea Publicly Executes Christian Woman for Distributing Bible

It doesn't matter the book, but you would think (or at least hope) that in 2009 this would be a shameful episode from humanity's past, not humanity's present.

Read the rest here.

7.23.2009

HA!

All right. I admit this has nothing whatsoever to do with history, but don't you just wish that when something goes wrong, you could pick up your guitar and compose one of these to let the world know what kind of crappy service such-and-such place has (yes, Hotel Roma in Trieste, I'm talking about you!).



Archaeologists discover five Roman shipwrecks untouched since they sank nearly 2,000 years ago

Amphorae from one of the Roman shipwrecks seen on the seabed near the island of Ventotene
Reuters: Amphorae from one of the Roman shipwrecks seen on the seabed near the island of Ventotene. The ships have been left untouched for centuries

A team of archaeologists using sonar technology to scan the seabed have discovered a 'graveyard' of five pristine ancient Roman shipwrecks off the small Italian island of Ventotene.

Read the rest on the DailyMail.


Ancient Silla armor comes to light: The recent discovery of the armor of Silla Dynasty cavalrymen has provided proof of the existence of these mythica



GYEONGJU - The warrior’s body and bones are long gone, decayed into the soil. But the armor that once protected him from enemy swords and arrows has survived the passage of time and has been revealed for the first time in 1,600 years.

Read the rest here.


A 700-year trip beneath Mud Bay

by John Dodge

South Sound’s premiere archaeological site was a busy place Tuesday as 27 students and supervisors from all over the country worked with painstaking care to uncover treasures from a 700-year-old fishing and seafood-processing camp once inhabited by ancestors of the Squaxin Island tribe.

Read the rest here.

7.22.2009

UC Scientists Determine That Ancient Maya Practiced Forest Conservation — 3,000 Years Ago

By: Wendy Beckman

As published in the July issue of the “Journal of Archaeological Science,” paleoethnobotanist David Lentz of the University of Cincinnati has concluded that not only did the Maya people practice forest management, but when they abandoned their forest conservation practices it was to the detriment of the entire Maya culture.

Read the rest here.


Napoleonic prisoner of war camp unearthed by Time Team archaeologists

Archaeologists have unearthed the secrets of what is thought to be the world’s first prisoner of war camp, built to house French prisoners during the Napoleonic Wars.

Read the rest on the Times.

7.21.2009

Can Computers Decipher a 5,000-Year-Old Language?

By David Zax

The Indus civilization, which flourished throughout much of the third millennium B.C., was the most extensive society of its time. At its height, it encompassed an area of more than half a million square miles centered on what is today the India-Pakistan border.

Read the rest here.


Prehistoric Case Hints At Interspecies Homicide


By Monte Basgall, Duke University

The wound that ultimately killed a Neandertal man between 50,000 and 75,000 years was most likely caused by a thrown spear, the kind modern humans used but Neandertals did not, according to Duke University-led research.

Read the rest here.


Oetzi Iceman's Tattoos Came from Fireplace

Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News
Soot-Based Tattoo
Soot-Based Tattoo | Discovery News Video

The 57 tattoos sported by Oetzi, the 5300-year-old Tyrolean iceman mummy, were made from fireplace soot that contained glittering, colorful precious stone crystals, according to an upcoming study in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

Read the rest on Discovery.


Excavation in Lebanon aims to uncover ancient ruins

Read the rest here.

7.20.2009

Cave record of Britain's pioneers

By Paul Rincon

The Cheddar Gorge in Somerset was one of the first sites inhabited by humans when they returned to Britain towards the end of the last Ice Age.

Read the rest on BBC.


HISTORY'S HORRORS IN THE PRESENT: Iranian Militias Marry, Rape Virgin Prisoners Before Executions

In the Islamic Republic of Iran it is illegal to execute a woman if she is a virgin, the former guard told the newspaper. So the government arranges "wedding" ceremonies to be conducted the night before executions, and prisoners are forced to have sexual intercourse with a guard.

Read the rest here.


Dorset Ridgeway’s killing field: were victims Vikings or local heroes?

Decapitated skulls and body parts being unearthed at the top of Ridgeway Hill
Decapitated skulls and body parts being unearthed at the top of Ridgeway Hill

It was a scene familiar from the killing fields of Iraq or the Balkans, but unheard of in rural Dorset. As the earth-moving machine peeled back a thin layer of topsoil, it exposed a tangled mass of human bones.


Read the rest on the Times Online.


Buried City in Oasis Lends View of Ancient Egypt

by Bob Goodier

A trench that was cut through collapsed mud bricks and the compacted debris of buildings leveled centuries ago is revealing a dusty scene of roof-topped streets in ancient Amheida, a city marooned on an oasis deep in Egypt’s western desert.

Read the rest on Live Science.


When and wear: the prehistory of clothing

By Simon Couper

Ask Ian Gilligan about his research project, and he’ll begin with a contradiction. “My great interest is in clothing, because I think it’s our most important invention,” he says. “But the next thing I’m going to say is that I’m not interested in clothing at all.”

Read the rest on Science Alert.


Ancient shrine found at Hadrian's Wall fort

A unique religious shrine to a Roman god has been uncovered at a fort along Hadrian’s Wall.

Read the rest here.

7.17.2009

Neanderthals Were Few and Poised for Extinction

By Jeanna Bryner, Senior Writer

Neanderthals are of course extinct. But there never were very many of them, new research concludes.

Read the rest on Live Science.

7.16.2009

Digging deeper: Archaeologists race to show Pompeii daily life

By Giampiero Sposito, Reuters

Mount Vesuvius still looms, quiet for now, over Pompeii. But for the lost Roman city, the drama never really ends.

Read the rest on USA Today.


Thighbones Were Scepters for Ancient Zapotec Men?

Charles Q. Choi

For men of the ancient Zapotec civilization, ancestral thighbones may have been carried as status symbols.

Read the rest on National Geographic.

7.14.2009

New Cover for THE HERETIC QUEEN


The Heretic Queen comes out in paperback on September 1, and for the debut, Crown has created a new and improved cover!!!! I hope you like it as much as I do. I think the background is tremendously evocative.


200,000-year-old flint tools found in Syrian desert

A Swiss archeological mission has found pre- historic flints and skeletons dating back 200,000 years in the desert of Palmyra in Syria, local media reported Sunday.

Read the rest here.


Untouched Tomb of Aztec King on Verge of Discovery?

Eliza Barclay
for National Geographic News

After nearly 30 years in the field, archaeologist Leonardo López Luján may be on the verge of the discovery of a lifetime: the only known tomb of an Aztec king.

Read the rest on National Geographic.

7.13.2009

Stolen Beauty: A Greek Urn’s Underworld

Chris Warde-Jones for The New York Times: The Euphronios vase, once the centerpiece of the Metropolitan Museum’s ancient-vase collection, at the Villa Giulia in Rome.


CERVETERI, Italy — Italy’s biggest prize in the war against looting antiquities went on view recently at the Villa Giulia in Rome.

Read the rest on the NYT.

7.09.2009

Copernicus Had Blue Eyes

Rossella Lorenzi, Discovery News
Copernicus
Portrait of Copernicus | Discovery News Video

Nicolaus Copernicus, the father of modern astronomy, gazed at the sky through bright blue eyes, according to genetic research that has identified the scientist's remains.

Read the rest on Discovery.


Another cache unearthed in National Museum

Egyptian archaeologists have unearthed another cache near the Western gate of the National Museum in Cairo, Culture Minister Farouq Hosni said yesterday.Zahi Hawass, the secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said that the cache contained

Read the rest here.

7.08.2009

Medieval finds at university dig

Dog bones
The remains of an 11th Century dog were found during the dig

Roman pottery, medieval remains and 11th Century dog bones have been found at the heart of Cambridge University during an archaeological dig.

Read the rest on the BBC.

7.07.2009

Archaeologists dive deep into the lost world of the Maya


CARA BLANCA, Belize — Machete chops echo and leaves rustle underfoot when the vines clear, revealing cobalt-blue water in a cliff-sided pool.

Read the rest on USA Today.


Computer reveals stone tablet 'handwriting' in a flash

B y Ewen Callaway

You might call it "CSI Ancient Greece". A computer technique can tell the difference between ancient inscriptions created by different artisans, a feat that ordinarily consumes years of human scholarship.

Read the rest on New Scientist.

7.06.2009

Rare Peek at Riches of Past in Rome


ROME — For decades now, excavations in the Roman Forum and on the Palatine Hill have yielded grand halls and imperial residences with fanciful frescoes and graceful stucco reliefs.

Read the rest on the NYT.

7.04.2009

Fourth of July in Virginia!




From John Adams, in a letter to his wife Abigail

Peacefield, the home of John and Abigail Adams

"Yesterday the greatest question was decided, which ever was debated in America... I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of the continent to the other, from this time forward, forevermore."

Abigail would have read this letter in her home at Peacefield.


HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!!!!!


7.03.2009

Via Aurelia: The Roman Empire's Lost Highway

By Joshua Hammer
Photographs by Clay McLachlan

At first glance, it didn't appear that impressive: a worn limestone pillar, six feet high and two feet wide, standing slightly askew beside a country road near the village of Pélissanne in southern France.

Read the rest in Smithsonian Magazine.

7.02.2009

Scientist Tries to Connect Migration Dots of Ancient Southwest


CASAS GRANDES, Mexico — From the sky, the Mound of the Cross at Paquimé, a 14th-century ruin in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, looks like a compass rose — the roundish emblem indicating the cardinal directions on a map.

Read the rest on the NYT.

7.01.2009

PICTURES: Prehistoric European Cave Artists Were Female

Inside France's 25,000-year-old Pech Merle cave, hand stencils surround the famed "Spotted Horses" mural.

Read the rest on National Geographic.